David Baxter 1

David Baxter English 1302 Marisue Coy March 26, 2013 All’s Well That Ends “It’s just another, ordinary house.” Shay said to himself, “Another ordinary house with a widow’s watch balcony, belfry and graveyard.” Shay’s father had accepted a job offer to run a branch of the Just Desserts franchise in Ephrata, Washington. Shay resented his father for accepting the offer without consulting his mother and him. He simply came home and told the two to start packing because they are moving two hundred miles away. This devastated Shay. He was in the middle of his junior year of high school. This move would tear him apart from his friends he has known since second grade, break the relationships he had with teachers, and make him leave his job at the library. Shay loved to read more than almost anything else. His favorite pastime, however, was writing. Shay kept a journal on him at all times in which he took notes of plot ideas, scribbled character traits, and jotted down couplets and haikus. “Can you give me a hand with this box, Shay?” his father called to him. Shay imagined the things he wished he could give his father a hand with. After stumbling their way into the house, the two sat the box in what would be the living room. This was the first time Shay had actually stepped foot in the house, and he was taken a bit by the appearance. It was a classic horror story house; staircase in the main foyer, large hanging chandelier, cloth-covered furniture in every room. He immediately pulled out his journal and began to jot down some ideas. After a take-out dinner, Shay finished unpacking his belongings into the only room on the third story of the house. His room had a writing nook with an excellent view of the valley of the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. He thought for sure he would get some great writing done here. He sat down and began to write, but something seemed off about the room. He sloughed it off as new home jitters and continued writing.

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The next morning he decided to tag along with his father to work so he could check out the town. He sat down at one of the high-top café tables in the dining area of the restaurant and read a book while sipping on his favorite drink, Supreme Court Yumstice. It was a perfect start to his day, and he felt it could only get better. He made his way around town and found the library. Since he knew nothing about this new town, he decided to go to the local history section. Among blueprints of the courthouse and books of family trees, Shay spotted a very promising book. Ephrata Killers was splashed across a binding in bright red against a black background. He grabbed the book and hastily made his way to the checkout counter. Once home, Shay ran up the two flights of stairs to his room and started reading. This book was bland for the most part. There were stories about angry ex-wives, drunken angst-filled teenagers, but one section caught his eye. He stopped when he saw the words “The Ephrata Maniac” typed in size sixteen Copper Black font at the top of the page. “Finally! Somet hing exciting actually happened in this dead town!” Shay thought to himself. His excitement was quickly snuffed as he continued reading. The unknown killer had brutally murdered sixteen people over a course of three months and disposed of the bodies in the Ginkgo Petrified Forest. Shay’s stomach almost came out of his mouth when he read this. There could possibly be a killer running around right now stashing the lifeless body of someone he passed on the street just earlier today! He grabbed his laptop and attempted to research the subject online. To his surprise, there was not a single result of the Ephrata Maniac. He resolved to get to the bottom of this one way or another. He closed his computer and turned in for the night. Around 1:30 am, Shay was awakened from a night terror. He hadn’t had one since he was just a boy. He thought that surely this was just an odd happening, and convinced himself to return to his sleep. Tomorrow was his first day at his new school, and he wanted to be prepared for the long day. But his wishes were made in vain. Terrors awoke him again at 3:00 am and again at 5:00. He decided it would be best to stay up and get ready for school.

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At school, Shay thought he would be able to find some more information on the local “Maniac.” Not many kids talked to him, but he mustered up the courage to sit with some fellow classmates that didn’t seem too aggressive at lunch. He made small talk with them until he could work the subject of the serial killer into the conversation. At the very mention of the killer, everyone at the table looked straight down, ignoring Shay. Thankfully, the bell broke the awkward silence Shay found himself in. That night, Shay was kept awake by the same night terrors. They persisted for a week, but his mother insisted that it was just a coincidence and not to worry about it. He tried to heed her advice, but his lack of sleep was causing him to perform poorly in school. His parents, not understanding the severity of what was going on with their son, were very hard on him at home. His schoolwork was the topic of discussion at each family dinner. Soon, Shay refused to join his parents and insisted on eating alone in his room. His life was spiraling downward and there was no bottom in sight. He did everything he could to end the terrible dreams that came to him each night. He was desperate, but nothing cured him. To occupy his time he found everything he could on the Ephrata Maniac. He read about the victims and their families. He thought about how much he envied the dead, their peace of mind, eternal rest. He was desperate to rid himself of these sleepless nights. He was finally driven so far, he decided to do the unthinkable. Shay opened the window in his writing nook and looked out at the moonlit valley. Docile. Peaceful. Quiet. He yearned so badly for these things. As Shay’s body fell three stories to the ground, his only thought was “All’s well that ends…”

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